HUALIEN, Taiwan (Reuters) – Rescuers combed the rubble of collapsed buildings on Wednesday, in a search for about 60 people missing after a strong earthquake killed at least six near Taiwan's popular tourist city of Hualien.
The magnitude 6.4 quake, which hit near the coastal city just before midnight Tuesday, also injured 258 people and collapsed four buildings, officials said.
The quake struck about 14 miles northeast of Hualien, and the epicenter was very shallow at just 1 kilometer, the USGS said.
A number of aftershocks hit the area, but there was no tsunami warning.
Hualien is a popular tourist destination on Taiwan's eastern coast and home to about 100,000 people.
"The president has asked the cabinet and related ministries to immediately launch the 'disaster mechanism' and to work at the fastest rate on disaster relief work," President Tsai Ing-wen's office said in a statement.
Lai said the government was urgently repairing a major highway damaged by the quake. He said the government would provide further updates on the situation later on Wednesday morning.
Among the buildings toppled in the quake was the Marshal Hotel in Hualien, where three people were trapped inside, the government said.
Four other buildings, including two hotels and a military hospital, also tilted during the quake in Hualien, which is about 75 miles south of the capital, Taipei.
The government said two bridges in the city were either cracked or could not be used due to the quake.
On Sunday an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 struck nearby.
Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China considers part of its territory, is prone to earthquakes.
More than 100 were killed in a quake in southern Taiwan in 2016, and some Taiwanese remain scarred by a 1999 earthquake with 7.6 magnitude whose impact was felt across the island and in which more than 2,000 people died.